Prof. Dr. Renske v. d. Veen - Ultrafast X-ray Spectroscopy and Molecular Photocatalysis

We have a PhD position available at the Helmholtz Center Berlin for Materials and Energy (HZB) in the research group of Prof. Dr. Renske M. van der Veen to work in the field of ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy and molecular photocatalysis.

Project description:

The project focuses on excited-state charge-transfer dynamics in photocatalytic transition-metal complexes and other catalytic materials such as covalent organic frameworks (COFs) using state-of-the-art ultrafast spectroscopies in the lab and at synchrotrons (such as BESSY II) and X-ray free electron lasers. Such atomic-scale mechanistic studies are pivotal for the rational control and bottom-up design of novel photocatalytic materials for, e.g. for water splitting, CO2 reduction, and cross-coupling reactions in organic chemistry.

The project is funded by the UniSysCat (Unifying Systems in Catalysis) Cluster of Excellence, which comprises 260 researchers from four universities and four research institutes in the Berlin and Potsdam area – working jointly together on current challenges in the highly relevant field of catalysis. Within the UniSysCat cluster, PhD students can become part of the Berlin Graduate School of Natural Sciences and Engineering (BIG-NSE) offering a broad, high-level structured educational program. The project is part of UniSysCat Cluster "Unit D: Catalysis with electronically activated molecules”.

You can find more about our group here: Atomic-Scale Dynamics in Light-Energy Conversion.


You should have a university degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials science or other related fields, and have a strong interest in catalysis and scientific instrumentation. You should also have excellent technical skills, good interpersonal skills and the enthusiasm to apply and develop new techniques.

Scientific Environment:

The Helmholtz Center Berlin is located in the south-east of the science metropolis Berlin. It is dedicated to excellent research and teaching, offering a stimulating environment, including open minded, ambitious young teams and state-of-the-art scientific training. The project offers the opportunity to contribute together with researchers from all around the world to the development of renewable energies, energy storage, and next-gen technologies for a climate-friendly future.


Fixed term contract for 36 months. The salary is based on the Collective Agreement for the German Public Service (TVöD-Bund). An extension of the position is expected. The Helmholtz Center Berlin is an equal opportunity employer. Handicapped candidates with equal qualifications will be given preference.

How to apply:

Further information can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Renske M. van der Veen (renske.vanderveen(at) Applications can be submitted under the following link:

The application should comprise a cover letter with a brief statement of research experience and interests, a CV as well as copies of undergraduate and graduate certificates.